It is becoming increasingly unlikely that Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra will be the next secretary general of the United Nations. In an informal vote of Security Council members commonly referred to as a straw poll, the foreign minister dropped even further and came in seventh place out of 10 candidates.
These votes are certainly not definitive but the trend seems to be that the more the voters have gotten to think about their choices, the less they seem to like the possibility of Malcorra becoming the first woman to lead the United Nations.
From a high of third place in the second straw poll, Malcorra then slipped to fifth place and now, seventh. In the latest vote she got seven “encourage,” seven “discourage” and one “no opinion” votes regarding her candidacy. Meanwhile, former Portuguese Prime Minister and head of the UN refugee agency Antonio Guterres has consolidated himself in first place with 12 “encourage,” two “discourage” and one “no opinion” votes.
Let’s recap on the voting process: there are 15 members of the Security Council, five of that have veto power: the US, the UK, France, Russia and China. They can apply their veto power to the potential candidates. Security Council members rate the 10 candidates with a ballot marked with three options: “encourage,” “discourage” or “no opinion.” Based on the results, which are non-binding, the candidates can voluntarily step down or continue in the race (two have already stepped down since the beginning of the process).
Another Security Council straw poll is set to be held on September 26th before a general vote on October 17th.
The full list of candidates and their corresponding votes are:
One noticeable aspect of today’s results is that the four out of the five women in the running occupy the last places of the vote, even though many have said it is high time for a woman to become secretary general. Even Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he wants his replacement to be a woman, noting it’s ridiculous that the organization that was founded 70 years ago has always been led by men.
Malcorra herself talked about this recently. “Looking at the female candidates, it would be a surprise to me if the UN decides that none of them merits appointment,” Malcorra told the Guardian. “It has been 70 years that men have been at the helm.”
Over the past few months, Malcorra has combined her agenda as Argentine Foreign Minister with lobbying for her UN candidacy, visiting around 30 countries in the process. In June, it was revealed that the US would endorse Malcorra.
Ban is scheduled to step down on December 31, 2016. If she wins, which is looking increasingly unlikely, Malcorra has stated that she will begin a “smooth transition” out of Argentina’s foreign ministry, and will stay in the post until December.